A few months ago I was asked by my friend and former Writers Bureau colleague Iain Pattison, a UK humorist and short story writer, if he could interview me for his email newsletter. I duly obliged, and his subscribers apparently enjoyed reading it.
For various reasons Iain doesn’t archive old newsletters on his blog, so (with Iain’s approval) I thought I would republish the interview here. The version below is basically as it appeared in Iain’s newsletter, with just a few minor updates and amendments. I hope you enjoy reading it…
Nick Daws is a professional freelance writer and editor, age 60. He lives in the English town of Burntwood, near Lichfield in Staffordshire. He has written well over 100 books, mainly on business-related subjects. He has also produced copy for packaging, novelty products, greeting cards, games, advertisements, training guides, and more. He enjoys writing fiction too, and his humorous sci-fi novella The Festival on Lyris Five (pictured, right) can be downloaded from Amazon’s Kindle store.
What’s the quirkiest thing that’s ever happened to you?
Inadvertently appearing on Greek national television would be up there. I was on holiday on a Greek island with my late partner Jayne, when a UK tour company suddenly collapsed, leaving thousands of British tourists stranded. Jayne and I were walking along the seafront one morning when we saw someone pointing a large camera in our direction. The next day we noticed many of the locals staring at us. We later discovered via an English barman that Greek TV had shown pictures of us as background to the news story – I suppose they must have thought we looked like typical British tourists. Ironically we weren’t even affected by the collapse, as we had travelled with a different company.
What word or phrase do you overuse?
Peanut butter – crunchie or smooth?
Crunchy every time.
What’s the most surprising thing anyone’s ever said about your work?
“I was pleased to find out you weren’t dead yet.”
What first inspired you to write?
When I was about eight my favourite teacher put us all into pairs and asked us to write a story collaboratively. My friend Tim and I became totally immersed in this project and continued to pursue it for months afterwards, by which time it was turning into a novel! That experience gave me an appetite for writing which has never left me.
Writer’s block – real deal, or just an excuse to skive?
As a professional freelance writer I can’t really afford to have writer’s block. Very occasionally I will have a day when for whatever reason the words won’t come, and on that day I’ll go out for a walk or find something else to do instead. But I can’t afford to have too many days like that or the unpaid bills would start to pile up!
Who’s your favourite author? Why?
It depends when you ask me and what I have just been reading. But the late American sci-fi author Roger Zelazny would certainly be among them. Not only was he a great storyteller, he created wonderful characters and had a lyrical, almost poetic turn of phrase. Being able to combine all of those skills in one is a rare talent, in my experience.
Worst meal you ever ate?
A lunch consisting of home-made cottage pie, made for me by a friend. It didn’t really taste of anything, but worse than that it was a blazing hot summer’s day and all I really wanted was salad. But seeing as it had been made specially for me I dutifully ate it and attempted to look grateful!
How do you cope with rejection?
I’m long enough in the tooth to know that you can’t please everyone, and in the world of writing personal taste plays a very large role. I never take rejection personally. I know my own strengths and weaknesses as a writer, and if someone rejects my work, I assume it just wasn’t right for them.
What makes you laugh?
Corrie or EastEnders?
Game of Thrones – hip or hype?
Never watched it. I did start reading the books years ago, well before the TV series. I got through the first book and most of the second, and then decided I had had enough. All the characters seem unpleasant and impossible to identify with, and I especially dislike what in my view is the misogynistic portrayal of the female characters. George R.R. Martin wrote some excellent short stories and books earlier in his career, but I don’t like this particular series, and therefore have no interest in watching the show.
Your biggest vice?
Sweet things. Chocolate, puddings, ice cream, you name it. I know I need to cut back for the sake of my waistline, but turning down a chocolate ice cream sundae just isn’t in my nature.
Do you believe in ghosts? Do they believe in you?
Yes, I do. I have seen ghosts, and have spoken to people who I am sure had seen them too. Whether the ghosts believe in me I really couldn’t say.
What makes you fume?
Not much these days. Getting steamed up seldom achieves anything and is bad for your blood pressure!
If you were given four sentences to plug your latest project, what would you say?
Entrepreneur Writer is my new blog. It’s aimed at writers and aspiring writers, especially those who have an entrepreneurial streak. I’m particularly interested in exploring new and different ways writers can apply their skills to boost their income, often via the Internet. Please do check it out at www.entrepreneurwriter.net.
I hope you enjoyed the interview. Many thanks to Iain for allowing me to republish it.
Do check out Iain’s very entertaining blog if you have a moment. And don’t forget to sign up for his email newsletter while you’re there, of course!
As ever, if you have any comments or questions, feel free to post them below.